Guild art was based on set patterns; exact copies of ornamentation and motifs from the works of great European artists. With rose painting there grew up a freer artistic form, a unique folk art that reached its apex towards the beginning of the 1800's. Rose painting was a rural art form practised by local masters who travelled from farm to farm.
Some old log houses are magnificently carved and decorated. These rural artisans were not however immune to international trends, although impulses from the Continent were slow in reaching the villages.
In these old interiors we find elements from all of the great styles including renaissance, baroque, rococo and empire, blended with local tradition and strongly influenced by the individual artisan's taste and temperament. The result became a unique and exuberant folk art with acanthus vines and human figures, flowers and trees, Biblical scenes, soldiers and horsemen, often in bright, harmonious colours.
Many Norwegian wooden buildings are built in dragon style, a style that is uniquely Norse and richly designed. It originated in the 1800's out of a growing interest for the animal decoration of the Viking period.
Norway was in the process of breaking out of a union with Sweden, and nationalism flourished. For a long time, the dragon style was considered to be the most tasteless manifestation of a glorification of the past. It was nonetheless kept when Holmenkollen Park Hotel in Oslo was restored.
Other handsome wooden hotels around the country - especially in Western Norway - have also come to realize their attraction value. Especially perhaps to foreign tourists who enjoy experiencing the unique qualities of the country they visit.
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The Norwegian rose painting tradition developed from around 1750 and was both an imitation and in parts liberation from guild art.
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